According to an article by Christopher Bergland in Psychology Today, “accumulating evidence suggests that not learning cursive handwriting may hinder the brain’s optimum potential to learn and remember.” Thank you for validating what we educators have been saying for years: students remember material better when they take longhand notes rather than type into a computer.
I’ve preached it. If you had a me as a professor, you know that I’ve shared these findings with you. Mind you, I’m not discounting the importance and relevance of digital devices, I’m merely focused on retention of information via handwritten notes.
In study after study, the results are in: there is a direct correlation between writing things down with pen and paper (or even a pen on a tablet) versus typing directly into the computer. Brain function increases. When you are strictly typing, the students function as a transcriber. When students handwrite, they are forced to be a gatekeeper and processor of information as they decide what needs to be written down to remember later.
So, that’s reason number one for why we shouldn’t disregard teaching cursive writing and use it to take notes.
If you need more reasons to keep this lovely art alive, I can offer at least three more.
Let’s continue with signatures. I almost fell over when I saw how my son signs his names to documents. He writes an “M” and then a line and then a “V” and then a line. I said to him, “That’s your signature? What?”
The sloppiness of signatures today is ridiculous. Where once people took pride in how they wrote their name, it’s no longer a thing. We’re too busy trying to figure out which Instagram photo to post rather than working on our penmanship. How cool is it when you look at a document like the Declaration of Independence and can see, clearly, the signatures of those who signed? Or, to bring it closer to home, think about your old yearbooks. Isn’t it fun to see what people wrote in them back then? Most of my classmates wrote their messages in cursive.
As well, reason number three would be that we need to be able to READ cursive, not just be able to write it. If we don’t teach it anymore, how will others decipher the history of what has been penned in cursive—in longhand—in the future? Best for them to know how to read it, don’t you think?
And finally, reason number four, and this one requires a promise from you. If you haven’t already done so, promise me that sometime in your life you will write the people you love more than anything, a love letter…in cursive. There is nothing like receiving a heartfelt missive on beautiful paper that shares a piece of your heart. I, for one, would not like to receive a typewritten letter. Yuck. Nor would I want to receive a handwritten letter that is printed rather than in cursive.
Romance, people. A handwritten, cursive letter is about the most romantic thing you can give someone to cherish forever.
Encourage our young ones to learn cursive. Encourage others to write beautiful love notes in cursive. Write one yourself. Even if your penmanship isn’t perfect, just knowing someone took the time to sit with their feelings and transcribe them via pen and paper should make you feel like a million bucks.
STEPHANIE VERNI is the author of THE LETTERS IN THE BOOKS; FROM HUMBUG TO HUMBLE: THE TRANSFORMATION OF EBENEZER SCROOGE; BENEATH THE MIMOSA TREE; INN SIGNIFICANT; LITTLE MILESTONES; THE POSTCARD; and ANNA IN TUSCANY. She is also a co-author of the textbook, EVENT PLANNING: COMMUNICATING THEORY & PRACTICE. Currently an adjunct professor at Stevenson University Online, she instructs communication courses for undergraduate and graduate students. She and her husband reside in Severna Park, Maryland, and have two children. On the side, she enjoys writing travel articles for marylandroadtrips.com.